iStrategyBlabs

Meet Dorothy: Click Your Heels To Summon An Uber, Call Your Phone, Or Text Your Friends!

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Have you ever been stuck in an awkward situation, praying your phone would ring so you could politely extract yourself?  Of course you have.  That’s why we made Dorothy, a physical trigger that makes any dumb shoe smart. Dorothy consists of the “Ruby” (a small connected device that slips into your shoe) and a mobile App that allows you to trigger a call to your phone from a fake contact (your “boss”) whenever you tap your heels together 3 times. Dorothy can also send text messages to your contacts with a custom message and your current location, letting them know exactly where you are. Soon, we’ll be working toward summoning an Uber. What else can Dorothy do?  You tell us… we’re just getting started! See it in action here:

Dorothy from iStrategyLabs on Vimeo.

How It Works:

Dorothy is powered by the LightBlue Bean, an Arduino micro-controller with a built in Bluetooth chip, accelerometer, and coin cell battery. Simply clip the “Ruby” into your shoe, connect it to the Dorothy iPhone App, and select your desired action after a successful trigger (3 heel clicks). The onboard accelerometer sends a signal to your phone via Bluetooth (listening for spikes in the data over a short period of time).

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The App: The iOS application was built in Objective-C and uses the Bean iOS SDK. Using AFNetworking we contact a small Node server that hits the Twilio API to trigger the appropriate action (a call to your phone or a text to your friends).

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Components: The Ruby consists of three main components, the 3D printed housing, a laser cut acrylic faceplate, and the LightBlue Bean. The Ruby’s housing was modeled using a CAD program and designed to mimic the naturally occurring facets of a gemstone, while maintaining a compact form factor (currently measuring 1.35” x 0.88” x 0.35”).

(NOTE: While this is our initial prototype — we’re currently exploring models as small as 1/3rd of its current size, potentially built into an insole…).

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Fabrication: The Ruby’s housing was 3D printed and carefully finished to remove any ridges and imperfections. Self-setting rubber (Sugru) was then pressed through the stenciled logo on the front face of the enclosure, adding additional color and tactility. The LightBlue Bean was placed inside the housing and covered with a thin laser-etched acrylic faceplate, and finally, a flexible clip was attached.

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What’s next? While in the near future we’ll be able to trigger actions like ordering an Uber to your geo-coordinates, or automatically order your favorite pizza — we’d love to hear your ideas. Let us know the most exciting actions/outputs and we just might make you a custom Dorothy of your very own… HOLLER AT US!

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UPDATE as of 10/29/14:

Since its release, Dorothy has been featured on some of the biggest news shows including: NPR, The Today Show, The Meredith Vieria Show.  You can view those clips below. Stay tuned for a live demo on Good Morning America on 10/30/14!


Summer 2014 Music Festivals Get Social — Coachella Leads The Pack

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With summer coming to a close, we decided to take a look back at how some of the country’s most well-attended music festivals — Coachella, Bonnaroo, Firefly, and most recently, Lollapalooza — used social and digital activations to enhance their crop-topped crowds’ festival experiences. We took a look into an array of  festival activations including RFID bracelets, .gif animators, and Instagram installations; so, whether you found yourself swaying side-to-side at Woodstock 45 years ago, or your Coachella sunburn just stopped peeling, we think you’ll appreciate the great lengths festivals are going to these days to ensure that no experience goes undocumented. After all, how else are you supposed to prove to your future children that you once crowd surfed in the middle of a field in Delaware?

Festival Facts and Stats

  • CoachellaIndio, California // April 2014 // Headliners: OutKast, Muse, Arcade Fire // Launched 1999

  • Bonnaroo: Manchester, Tennessee // June 2014 // Headliners: Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White // Launched 2002

  • Firefly: Dover, Delaware // June 2014 // Headliners: OutKast, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson // Launched 2012

  • Lollapalooza: Chicago, Illinois // August 2014 // Headliners: Eminem, OutKast, Kings of Leon // Launched 1991

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R.F.I.D. Wristbands

If you’ve been to a music festival recently you know that the likelihood of your cell phone battery dying is high (gasp!). Should this tragically occur, how are you supposed to check-in to the OutKast stage on Facebook? Thanks to radio frequency identification technology (R.F.I.D.), several festivals have started implementing R.F.I.D. wristbands that attendees can “personalize” using their Facebook information. Lollapalooza attendees were even able to pay for food and drinks using their smart wristbands as part of the Lolla Cashless system, making them the first music festival to take that leap. Not only is this feature handy for festival attendees, it’s a gold mine for marketers. Think about all the data and analytics you can get by scanning those wristbands, people.

Source: BizBash Erika Goldring, Photo: Erika Goldring

Bonnaroo attendees swipe their wristbands, and have their photo taken and
shared to social media at one of four kiosks around the venue (Source: BizBash, Photo: Erika Goldring)

 

Coachella, #HMLovesMusic

Festival fashion is synonymous with cut-offs, fringe, and fanny packs. This year Coachella partnered with H&M to capture festival-goers’ style with one of our favorite social activations — they’re calling it “H&M <3 Music,” and we’re calling it “The .GIF Runway”. Users were recorded walking on a treadmill-like platform in front of a green screen, and turned into psychedelic supermodels after a little bit of photo magic.  The outcome below is pure genius.

Source: The Bosco

Witness additional hilarity here. (Source: The Bosco)

Festival Frames

Human-sized photo frames are all the rage at festivals this summer. If Instagramming your music festival experience wasn’t already at the forefront of your mind when you walked through the gates, these festival photo frames are an in-your-face reminder to strike a pose with your pals.

#InstaFirefly

Not only were Firefly Instagrammers able to collect free polaroid sticker prints of photos they tagged with #InstaFirefly, little did they know that they were simultaneously helping Firefly paint a much bigger picture with their photos. Throughout the festival, Firefly staff were tasked with strategically placing copies of fan photos onto a wall, creating a giant photo mosaic. At the end of the weekend, Firefly revealed the finished product via their own Instagram account.

Firefly staff arranged fan photos on a mural, creating a giant image of a Firefly artist

Firefly staff arranged fan photos on a mural, creating a giant image of a Firefly artist

Celebrity Activations
Sure .GIF runways are awesome and cashless wristbands are convenient, but get a celebrity to show up to your festival and you have the power to break Twitter. Native Chicagoan Malia Obama was spotted at Lollapalooza this month in true festival fashion — a flower printed tank top accessorized with her Secret Service agents. One lucky fan actually managed to sneak a photo with the eldest Obama, and was kind enough to share the moment on Twitter.

 

We can’t help but think that the only thing missing from this impressive collection of activations is a Social Beer Fridge — like this one – that fans can unlock with their wristbands. Who knows what next summer will bring. Until then, enjoy this Spotify playlist with your crappy headphones while you count down to next summer’s festivals.

Meet Transit, The Latest In Commuter Technology

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Lately, I have been obsessing over the Electric Imp, a small internet connected device that allows makers to do some pretty awesome things. Where it truly excels is pulling in live data from APIs.

With our office located in Dupont Circle, we have easy access to the Metro and Capital Bikeshare Stations.  Since our team is constantly on the go, I thought it would be helpful to manipulate this travel data in a fun way, easily digestible way.  Thus Transit was born.

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The first step in building Transit was choosing the hardware. I decided to go with six LED matrices that provided a similar aesthetic to the real metro signs, one Arduino Mega to power the LEDs, and an Electric Imp to collect the desired data. Next I brainstormed how much information I would like to show. I decided to display the next four trains arriving at the Dupont Circle metro, how many Capital Bikeshare bikes were available at the Dupont station, and the current temperature for Washington, DC.

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The final unit is mounted on the wall between our two elevators, making it easy for people to see the information they need before they head out of the office. The sign pulls in new data from each of the APIs every 30 seconds.

P.S. I must commend the WMATA’s API for this project. Everything from signing up to embedding their data was extremely well done and easy to use.

Take An Instant Selfie With This Magical Mirror

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Meet S.E.L.F.I.E., the “The Self Enhancing Live Feed Image Engine”. Triggered by simply standing in front of the mirror and holding a smile, hidden LED’s indicate a countdown, then simulate a “flash” as your photo is taken. The photo is then automatically posted to Twitter (with a watermark/logo).

Find out how it works and see it in action:

A MacMini powers the facial recognition software:

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The LEDs (controlled by an Arduino) visualize the countdown timer:

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All components are hidden behind the 2-way mirror:

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A custom vinyl graphic on the floor let’s you know exactly where to stand:

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Want one for yourself? Have some ideas for our next experiment?  Hit us up!

GE Garages DC Opens – Remake The Capital With Your Fellow Innovators!

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Are you a maker, hacker, tinkerer or innovator of some kind? If so you’re going to love GE Garages DC.

From March 21 to – April 9th, GE is opening up a hands-on maker space pop-up right in the Golden Triangle area of downtown DC (map).

The full calendar is here – register FAST before everything books up. Use #Garages2014 for live updates.

iStrategyLabs will be powering several sessions including a Founders Forum, Entrepreneur & Investor Panel (RSVP), and several design/build sessions where people will create a Weather Clock. GE has also graciously sponsored this month’s DC Tech Meetup where over 800 people will come out to see demos by early stage start-ups.

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In the past iStrategyLabs has worked with GE on their Garages Program at SXSW. If you haven’t see it yet – have a look at the GE Social Fridge we built and the full GE Garages experience, powered by the Sub Rosa crew:


GE Garages DC